Wrong Color Foundation – What To Do

July 15, 2013

We’ve all had it happen to us at one point or another.  You get a new foundation with high hopes, you bring it home, open it up, excited to try it and…. ! ….it’s the wrong color.  What’s worse is, you can’t even return it.  You either let it sit in your makeup drawer til it goes off, or read on for ways to still make use of it.

Foundation Shades

PROBLEM 1: Foundation is TOO LIGHT

The best way to utilise foundations that are lighter than your skin tone is to use it as a highlighter.  I don’t mean the shimmery, glittery type of highlighting but more of a “where the light would naturally hit” effect.  This is a trick we use to brighten and lift the center of the face.


Apply the lighter color foundation in the areas shown above – over your correct color foundation.  Then, with either a buffing brush or a sponge, blend the edges where the two colors meet for a flawless finish.  This will help brighten under the eyes, slim the length of the nose, highlight the forehead and the chin where light would naturally hit.


PROBLEM 2: Foundation is TOO DARK

There’s nothing worse than applying foundation that is too dark and it looks like a mask.  If you end up with a dark colored foundation, make sure to test it again when you have a tan.  Skin color changes in different seasons so it may end up being the perfect shade for you in summer months.  Otherwise, following on from the previous trick of highlighting, you can use a darker color foundation to contour.  Contouring helps sculpt and bring dimension to the face.


Apply the darker color foundation in the areas shown above – over your correct color foundation.  As with the highlighting method, blend the edges with either a buffing brush or a sponge for a seamless natural finish.  This will make the cheekbones stand out, slim down (or shorten) the nose, sculpt the jawline and frame the face beautifully.

Another trick is to turn your darker shade foundation into a tinted moisturiser.  You can mix a small amount of the foundation with your favorite moisturiser.  This will dilute the texture of the foundation, creating a light sheer coverage tinted moisturiser.


PROBLEM 3: Foundation is TOO PINK

Some foundations throw off a pink tinge or oxidise to a pinkish color – especially if you have a yellow undertone to your skin.  Unfortunately, as per the lighter and darker color foundations, we can’t use a pink shade foundation for sculpting purposes.  The best way to utilise a pinkish foundation is to turn it into a cream blush.

Put a dime size amount of the foundation on the back of your hand or a flat surface.  Mix into it a small amount of your favorite pink, coral or red lipstick (or your favorite loose powder blush or bronzer).  Blend really well and add more color if you want the blush to be more vibrant.  Apply to your cheeks with either a brush, or better yet, blend with your fingers for a glowing flushed look!



If you purchase your foundation from a department store, ask the sales assistants to match you with your shade.  Wear it out in natural daylight and see how the foundation performs throughout the day.  Take home samples if they’re available.

As for drugstores, they are more of a gamble as some do not offer testers.  A pointer to keep in mind is: get your foundation color matched at MAC. Once you know your MAC shade, you can google which drugstore foundations (or the brand you’re interested in) are the closest match to that shade.  This is great to narrow down the most suitable options, as well as when shopping online.

*I used standard MAC face charts for the illustrations.

I hope this post was helpful and if you have a wrong color foundation at home, you can now make use of it ;) xx

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Skully July 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

I was planning on buying the fit me foundation but the stores I went did not have my shade. The store assistant suggested loreal and I ended up buying the infallible foundation with my shade. However I realized now that although it’s a perfect match for my face, it is a bit pink than my neck. What should I do?

Russell Tan June 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm

If the foundation has pink tinge can we use a banana powder to make it work?

Sarah June 12, 2017 at 3:08 am

Only partly. If the foundation is too pink, the easiest way to neutralize it would be to mix in a bit of green color corrector (or green primer). Green helps counteract any pink or red patches on the skin so the concept works the same in toning down pink foundations. Once the pink subsides, you can then go in with banana powder as this will help balance it further. Hope that helps :)

MAY December 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

but when i use my “too light” foundation it’s look grey on my eyes :( did u have any reccomendation?

Sarah December 23, 2016 at 11:34 am

Hi May, do you have any darkness (dark circles) around the eye area? If a concealer or light color foundation is turning gray on the skin, that’s usually related to dark circles. If you color correct the area first with a peach/salmon colored corrector, it will cancel out the darkness. When you apply the light color foundation over this, it’ll look perfectly even.
I have a detailed post on this, including a demo which you can check out here: http://beautypointofview.com/product-series-color-correctors/

Lita September 23, 2016 at 11:35 am

What about if the foundation is too orange/peachy?

Sarah September 23, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Hi Lita, unfortunately there’s no way of adjusting the color so it can be suitable for an all over foundation again. What you can do however, is to use it as a cream bronzer or to even frame the face to give it some dimension. Depending on just how orange or peach the foundation is, you can also mix it with highlighters to make a peachy shimmery blush with it. This looks beautiful dabbed over the cheek bones for a natural flush and the highlighter adds a touch of glow to the skin – like an all in one product :)

Mel July 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Fabulous tips :)))

Sarah July 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm

thank you Mel, glad you enjoyed them xx

Jesse July 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

Thank you great post. Now I can make use of my ‘wrong’ foundations

Sarah July 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm

always good to turns wrongs into rights ;)

Anna July 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Thank you!!!!! I bought a loreal foundation from cvs and it was too dark. I never thought o using it like this. Genius!!!

Sarah July 16, 2013 at 7:03 am

Fantastic! I know, it can be so disappointing to spend all that money and be stuck with a product you can’t use. Happy contouring!! ;) xx


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